bbc.co.uk - By Dr Alison Woollard University of Oxford
For all the weird and wonderful diversity of the animal kingdom, at the genetic level many species have a surprising level of similarity. As a result we can learn a lot about the inner workings of our own human cells by studying other animals, and not all of them are mammals as you might expect.
In the 2013 Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution, titled Life Fantastic, I discuss a menagerie of creatures that help explain where life comes from and how we grow and age. I also show how the knowledge we gain from the natural world is helping to inform our understanding of human development and disease.